The Yellow Dot by Robert Bly

‘The Yellow Dot,’ written in remembrance of poet Jane Kenyon, is about the inevitability of death and God’s despotic ruling over humankind. It was published in Robert Bly’s best-known collection, Morning Poems (1997).

The Yellow Dot by Robert Bly Visual Representation

I Shall Paint My Nails Red by Carole Satyamurti

‘I Shall Paint My Nails Red’ by Carole Satyamurti is a poem about why a female speaker painted her nails. The simple premise is made more complicated as she lists out the reasons why she painted her nails red. 

'I Shall Paint My Nails Red’ by Carole Satyamurti

Of Treason by John Harington

‘Of Treason’ by John Harington is a two-line poem that uses humor and wit to describes the nature of successful and unsuccessful treason.

Of Treason by John Harington Visual Representation

Dream Boogie by Langston Hughes

‘Dream Boogie’ by Langston Hughes is a poem about jazz, creativity, and the oppression of Black Americans. It was written during the Harlem Renaissance. 

Dream Boogie by Langston Hughes

On Getting Out of Vietnam by Howard Nemerov

‘On Getting Out of Vietnam’, written by American poet Howard Nemerov, is a symbolic poem based on the US’s involvement in Vietnam War (1955-1975). It alludes to the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur.

On Getting Out of Vietnam by Howard Nemerov Visual Representation

An Introduction to Some Poems by William Stafford

William Stafford’s ‘An Introduction to Some Poems’ is about the role of budding poets. The speaker says that every life is worth writing about, and a writer’s work is to share “authentic” human experiences.

An Introduction to Some Poems by William Stafford Visual Representation

The Great Society by Robert Bly

Published in Robert Bly’s award-winning collection, The Light Around the Body (1967), ‘The Great Society’ satirizes the set of domestic programs launched by Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964-65 by presenting contrasting imagery from contemporary American society.

The Great Society by Robert Bly Visual Representation

Never Trust a Mirror by Erin Hanson

‘Never Trust a Mirror’ by Erin Hanson is a poem about beauty and self-worth. The poet describes the untrustworthy nature of a mirror and how one shouldn’t take what they see in it for granted. 

Never Trust a Mirror by Erin Hanson Visual Representation

Good-bye Fox by Mary Oliver

‘Good-bye Fox’ by Mary Oliver is a thoughtful poem that explores the meaning of life. It includes a conversation between a fox and a human being.

Good-bye Fox by Mary Oliver Visual Representation

Hard Times by John Ashbery

Published in Shadow Train (1981), John Ashbery’s ‘Hard Times’ is about the poet’s take on the modern world and its future. It showcases people’s ignorance of the issues that troubles Ashbery the most.

Hard Times by John Ashbery Visual Representation

Who Said It Was Simple by Audre Lorde

‘Who Said It Was Simple’ by Audre Lorde is a powerful poem about the inequalities in various civil rights movements during the poet’s lifetime.

Who Said It Was Simple by Audre Lorde Visual Representation

New Day’s Lyric by Amanda Gorman

‘New Day’s Lyric’ by Amanda Gorman is poem written at the end of 2021 in order to usher in a more hopeful new year in 2022. The piece explores themes of hope and change. 

New Day’s Lyric by Amanda Gorman Visual Representation

The Pride of Lions by Joanna Preston

‘The Pride of Lions’ by Joanna Preston describes what happens after a speaker’s husband is transformed into a lion. It presents a message about what relationships require in order to be successful.

The Pride of Lions by Joanna Preston Visual Representation

Forties Flick by John Ashbery

Published in John Ashbery’s award-winning poetry collection, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), the poem ‘Forties Flick’ is a postmodern, nostalgic lyric on film noir of the “classic period.” This piece vividly portrays a trademark scene of Hollywood crime dramas of the 1940s.

Forties Flick by John Ashbery Visual Representation

Money, O! by W.H. Davies

‘Money, O!’ by W.H Davies is a poem that argues that having a lot of money is not all that it’s cracked up to be. While being well off financially comes with its benefits, it comes at the expense of genuine relationships.

Money, Oh! By W.H. Davies Visual Representation

Reapers by Jean Toomer

‘Reapers’ by Jean Toomer is a thoughtful poem about oppression. It is depicted through a very poetic and memorable metaphor depicting field workers and a mower.

Reapers by Jean Toomer Visual Representation

The Poem as Mask by Muriel Rukeyser

‘The Poem as Mask’ by Muriel Rukeyser is a powerful, feminist poem that speaks to the poet’s experiences in life and with her poetry. 

The Poem as Mask by Muriel Rukeyser Visual Representation

November Cotton Flower by Jean Toomer

‘November Cotton Flower’ by Jean Toomer is a powerful extended metaphor for the lives of Black men, women, and children in the southern United States. It alludes to slavery and the hope that the Civil Rights Movement presented. 

November Cotton Flower by Jean Toomer Visual Representation

Wanting to Die by Anne Sexton

‘Wanting to Die’ by Anne Sexton is a poem about the poet’s desire to take her own life. It was written close to ten years before she committed suicide. 

Wanting to Die by Anne Sexton Visual Representation

Broadway by Walt Whitman

‘Broadway’ by Walt Whitman is a short, effective poem that speaks to the nature of contemporary life. It focuses in on one street in New York City.

Broadway by Walt Whitman Visual Representation
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